European Spatial Visions - charting new pathways for a post-growth Europe?


  • Peter Ache Radboud University


Scenario thinking, utopian dreaming capacity, vision and strategy, post-growth Europe




Europe is confronted with many societal challenges resulting from a so-called “poly-crisis”! The house that humanity needs Mumford (1922) to build as a society demands new ideas towards different futures, to accommodate events like climate change and biodiversity collapse or to end carbon-based capitalism. It requires, as will be suggested in this contribution, the development of a “utopian dreaming capacity”. Such a utopian dreaming capacity includes an element of educating desire. Ernst Bloch (1985 (1954), p. 5) calls this “educated hope”, but it is also the education of responsibility. Furthermore, planning utopia includes the “creation of hope”, following the words of the late John Friedmann (2002).

What we are missing is actually scenario thinking which embarks on more daring outlooks for the European territory. What is missing are informed and challenging outlooks on Europe, preparing the ground to think out of the box(es) and initiate a deeper discussion of where we want to navigate with Europe in terms of our cities and regions!?

This paper starts from a collection of scenario sketches provided by various scholars and practitioners from the field of spatial planning with long experiences regarding European territorial development. Building on their think pieces, it will then discuss potential futures fort he European territory: in search of unknown novelty and unfolding their educated spatial desires for new spatial horizons.